Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Right against Self Incrimination

The Bill of Rights (Article III, Section 17) reads that "No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself."

So why would the senators be annoyed if Napoles keeps on invoking her right against self incrimination?

The senate's problem is that it is acting like it has judicial powers, but in reality, they only have the power to investigate only for the purpose (in aid) of legislation. Their own rules indicate that "the power to conduct investigation in aid of legislation by the Congress calls only the purpose of legitimate inquiry. Under the present Constitution, members of both Houses are prohibited to exercise an abuse of this conduct."

"The power of inquiry and investigation exists not only to enable Congress to discharge effectively its primarily legislative and law making functions. It likewise extends to hearing on other matter within its jurisdiction notably the power to impeach, to propose amendments, and take disciplinary action against its members."

Napoles cannot be impeached since she is not a government official. The Blue Ribbon Committee cannot incarcerate witnesses and resource persons, except in cases of contempt of Congress. So I guess they will contempt Napoles for invoking her right against self incrimination. Shouldn't they take disciplinary action against their own members, Congressmen and Senators instead? They should start at their own backyard and let Napoles answer to the courts. A lot of the people who watched the investigation should not have wasted their time if only Sen. Guingona listened to Sec. De Lima and Ombudsman Carpio-Morales.

Ref.: Philippine Governance and the 1987 Constitution' 2006 Ed. Rex Bookstore. p. 175.